A new potential buyer has emerged for Vivendi's entertainment properties, including the Vivendi Universal Games division, with Edgar Bronfman Jr - the man who sold Universal Entertainment to Vivendi three years ago - expressing an interest in the company.
Reuters is today reporting that Bronfman is lining up a number of private equity firms to prepare a bid, with due-diligence meetings already held and the group prepared to make an offer in due course. This offer would be for all of Vivendi's entertainment assets, including games, movies and music.
Bronfman sold Universal Entertainment to Vivendi in 2000 for $34 billion in stock, but lost a significant proportion of this as the value of Vivendi stocks crashed on the markets in recent years.
It's well known that the Vivendi Universal Games division is on the market, and several industry players have been associated with the purchase of it - first Microsoft and EA (both now thought to have lost interest, with EA confirming last month that it would only consider purchasing Blizzard alone, not the rest of VUG), and then Take 2, which was last month reported to be putting together financial backing for a bid.
Rumours circulated at E3 that Take 2 had made a formal bid of some $800 million for Vivendi Universal Games, but as yet no confirmation or denial of this has been forthcoming. The wheels of corporate mergers and acquisitions turn very slowly indeed at times.
Bronfman's bid is obviously an order of magnitude larger, as it encompasses not only Vivendi Universal Games but also the various movie businesses and music businesses owned by the conglomerate - the latter of which aren't even officially on sale as yet.
Other parties which have been linked with the sale of Vivendi's entertainment assets include Microsoft (again), Vicaom, MGM and oil baron Marvin Davis.